For an infinite solid containing a void, the cavitation instability limit is defined as the remote stress-and strain state, at which the void grows without bound, driven by the elastic energy stored in the surrounding material. Such cavitation limits have been analysed by a number of authors for metal plasticity as well as for nonlinear elastic solids. The analyses for elastic-plastic solids are here extended to consider the effect of a large initial yield strain, and it is shown how the critical stress value decays for increasing value of the yield strain. Analyses are carried out for remote hydrostatic tension as well as for more general axisymmetric remote stress field, with an initially spherical void. Different levels of strain hardening are considered. (C) 1998 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.